Wild Asia Opens at Akron Zoo
Now, you can experience the southeast Asia jungle and Himalayan forests in Ohio. Wild Asia, featuring lush tree canopies, allows guests at the Akron Zoo to do just that.
As part of a $17 million capital improvement project for the zoo that also included the addition of the Pride of Africa exhibit (which opened in 2019), the Lehner Family Foundation Wild Asia exhibit was supposed to open in 2020, but was delayed due to the pandemic. The new area opened over the weekend featuring expanded habitats for the zoo’s red pandas and Sumatran tigers and introducing white-cheeked gibbons.
Wild Asia’s spacious Sumatran tiger habitat features innovative habitats for male tiger Eko, 3, and female tiger Diburu, 3. Since tigers prefer to live alone, each tiger will has its own habitat complete with a pool, cave and tiger skylight, among other amenities. Eko came to the zoo from the Oklahoma City Zoo and Diburu is from San Diego Safari Park.
The new tiger habitat with its grassy slopes and a pool will allow the Akron to contribute to the Tiger Species Survival Plan (SSP) by allowing more tigers to call the zoo home.
All tigers are endangered, including the Sumatran tigers that live at the zoo. It’s estimated that only 300 Sumatran tigers remain in the wild as they are threatened by hunting and commercial palm oil cultivation. The zoo is hopeful their participation in will bring tiger cubs to the zoo for the first time in almost two decades.
The zoo’s red pandas also now have an expanded natural habitat in the new Wild Asia. As part of the Red Panda SSP, the new habitat will be home to a group of red pandas to help sustain the endangered species. They’re severely threatened by pelt hunting and by shrinking habitat from agricultural encroachment and climate change.
New to the zoo are the white-cheeked gibbons who will also call Wild Asia home. Gibbons are endangered, largely due to deforestation for palm oil cultivation in their native Vietnam, Laos, and China. While we call gibbons “monkeys”, they’re actually small apes who form highly social families. Akron Zoo’s participation in the Gibbon SSP will help to save these highly-social animals from extinction.
We visited the new area for its grand opening celebration — although it was a rainy day, you can still see some of the spectacular new exhibits!
For tickets and more information, visit the official Akron Zoo website by clicking here.
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